The Threads of the Heart

Written by Carole Martinez
The Threads of the Heart
by Carole Martinez
translated by Howard Curtis
(Europa Editions, 2013)

Acquired by the same editor who discovered The Elegance of the Hedgehog for French publisher Gallimard, winner of no less than nine literary prizes, compared by critics to The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, a bestseller in France and Italy, and soon to be made into major film directed by the author herself, this debut novel by Carole Martinez is a bona fide publishing sensation.

They say Frasquita knows magic, that she is a healer with occult powers, that perhaps she is a sorcerer. She does indeed possess a remarkable gift, one that has been passed down to the women in her family for generations. From rags, off-cuts, and rough fabric she can create gowns and other garments so magnificent, so alive, that they bestow a breathtaking and blinding beauty on whoever wears them; they are also capable of masking any kind of defect or deformity (or a pregnancy!).

But Frasquita's gift incites jealousy. She is hounded and eventually banished from her home, and what follows is an extraordinary adventure as she travels across southern Spain all the way to Africa with her five children in tow. Her exile becomes a quest for a better life, for both herself and her daughters, whom she hopes can escape the fate of her family of sorcerers.

The Threads of the Heart possesses the lyric beauty of a prose poem and the narrative power of myth.

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